Running Lean by Diana L. Sharples is a Christian fiction novel for teens, published by Blink. It’s the story of two teenagers who have been dating for several months. Stacey is from a non-Christian family who moved to town to escape a hurtful situation. Calvin is from a large Christian family still reeling from the death of the oldest son. Stacey and Calvin were drawn together by their shared pain, yet are running into obstacles trying to help each other move past it.
Overall I liked this story, but I had a few concerns. First, few of the adults in the story were aware of or sensitive to Stacey and Calvin’s needs. Rather, the adults were self-absorbed and out of touch. Teenagers see adults portrayed this way enough on secular TV. They don’t need to have this idea reinforced in the Christian novels they read. Ultimately, the parents came through in crisis, but I would have preferred more competent involvement from them throughout.
Second, in the hands of a girl on the edge of an eating disorder, Stacey’s dive into anorexia will read like a how-to manual. I understand that the author wants to warn young girls away from this, but I am concerned that some will write the consequences off as fiction while noting Stacey’s methods of hiding what she’s doing. I wouldn’t recommend parents give this book to any girl at risk of this.
I liked the three-fold concept of “running lean,” though: Stacey’s lack of food, Calvin’s motorcycle’s fuel deficiency, and both teens trying to fix all without God. The lesson was clear, easy to grasp, and memorable, as well as interesting. I thank Blink for sending me a copy of this book to read and review.